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Sunday, January 27, 2013

Jeffrey Sparks Interview

I first met Jeff Sparks several years ago at a workshop I was teaching in Arkansas. Even then I was impressed with his approach to learning and his giving nature. He not only took copious notes, photographed some of the teaching materials, but compiled all this material  to a CD...and generously shared this with each student participating in the workshop. Jeff continues to grow as an artist and his many talents and gifts continue to be used to bless others.

At the time we met, Jeff was working full-time for LifeWay Christian Stores. Since then he has moved with his wife Julie to Kansas City, formed the Missouri Valley Impressionist Society, and continues to work toward becoming a full-time artist. If Jeff is anything, he is a serious student...hungry for knowledge, thoughtful in learning and decision making. 

What has sparked (ha, ha) my current interest in what he's been up to is a fabulous group of quality teaching videos he has produced and posted on his website. I really encourage you to check them out. You will discover quite quickly the quality and depth of my friend, Jeff Sparks.

As he continues to transition toward becoming a full-time professional artist, I thought you might be interested in how he's approaching that, the kind of commitment he's made to achieve it, and his opinion on other art related subjects.

Journal entry for  Paige - Orchestra in Umbers 

Palette notes for Whiskey River Rapids. Typical of journal notes Sparks keeps on each  of his paintings
Typical of the piles of notes Sparks has made, which will later be compiled, edited and refined into high quality teaching aids (shown below). Here we see his notes on unequal division of space, based on teachings of Andrew Loomis

You will notice in this interview, even though Sparks is currently employed full-time, his mindset is that of a full-time professional artist...critical to success.

What art training do you have?   I would say I am 'self-taught' but I know that can mean anything. What I mean by 'self-taught' is finding help. Seeking a mentor. Rigorous and academic tenacity, copious research, (I mean crazy dissertation-level research), on learning. The bottom line is, I lived most of my early fine art life so fearful of not being good enough, (that 'self-taught' label haunted me you know), that I spent considerably more time researching and studying than most might endure. I've also had workshops - one of the best from you, John - and had the pleasure of being mentored by artist Rick Howell...until his passing this past November. 

Sphere Study - 8"x 10" - Oil

Strange City Series "Demolition" - 18"x 24" - Oil

When did you begin painting full-time?   I live, eat, and breath fine art easily 40 hours a week. Full-time. My other full-time job is at Half Price Books.

Then you haven't fully transitioned from employed to self-employed as yet?   I haven't made that transition yet. My friend, Todd Williams, gave me some incredible advice. He said to be 100% 'debt free'. An artist without debt is an artist who can survive the lean times by storing up reserves in the days of plenty. Until I am debt free (and my wife and I recommend Dave Ramsey and Total Money Makeover), I will work both full-time jobs.   

What was your former employment and how has it prepared you for what you're doing today?   I wanted to be an artist since I was young, but felt a calling into the ministry and so went to college and seminary to study for pastoral ministry. Although, at times, I find myself wishing I had known about the various training academies of fine art scattered around the United States, I do not regret those many years of rigorous, classical, education. Instead of ministry, I went into retail management at LifeWay Christian Stores for many years and there found an entirely different education in leadership, management, hitting targets and goals, and perseverance. I came to fine art only recently, and I know this is a profound phobia for many who, later in life, begin to pursue fine art.

Fall Umber - 16"x 12" - Oil

What is the value of having a mentor?   I could write a book in answering this question; such is the role of a mentor. Let me step aside from strictly fine art for a moment to say that in all areas of essential importance to one's life, (often just in contemplating life itself and how to live it well), I believe the role of a mentor is life-altering. There are a lot of successful artists out there who provide mentoring services, but I would say this is more along the lines of coaching, and so would like to distinguish that from authentic mentoring here. A mentor is different. As human individuals, we can share what is 'personal' to a coach, or a teacher - but to a mentor we share that which is 'private', for an endeavor to which we commit our life affects each and every other part of our life. For this reason, may we choose our mentors wisely; and be a mentor yourself, but also wisely.

How difficult is it to enter the fine art field today and what have/are you doing to overcome those difficulties?   Every gallery is, in essence, a retail store. Worse, they are specialty retail stores. We, the artists, are their suppliers. If our paintings don't sell, they don't pay their rent. I wish it could be more glamorously said, more poetic, but it is the stark reality - with the New Medicare tax resuming (the 2% hit we are all feeling come off our income as of this week), unemployment high, and uncertainty, old paradigms really ought to be examined today when it comes to entering the art field. What I am doing is painting, building inventory, and working at improving. This can either be a woeful time, or a time of renewal and strength-building. I will choose the latter.

A Fall Winter - 18"x 24" - Oil

The Whitening Pond - 18"x 24" - Oil

Through Trees - 16"x 20" - Oil

What are the three most important lessons learned since beginning your fine art career?   1) "Set your expectations, don't back down from them, and let the chips fall where they may."...from my mentor, Mick Houston, at LifeWay Christian Stores. It applies to fine art, and all areas of life. 2) "You already know what you need to know." This counsel is from my friend and master artist, Todd Williams, Siloam Springs, Arkansas. When you are largely self-taught, you build your dream of fine art from the clouds down. The basics do not take long to master. 3) From a great man in my life right when I was beginning fine art, "Don't worry about awards and recognition; don't chase juried shows. Instead, focus on the quality of your work - I have found that when you do this, the awards and recognition come all the same." T. Allen Lawson, during a cold February visit to his studio over the span of a couple days.

Who have been your most important creative influences?   Honestly, illustrators.

What would be your definition of art?   Visual search for, and when found, exploration of beauty and truth.

Jade Jar and Melon - 12"x 16" - Oil

How would you define your role as an artist?   We can't take anything with us when this life is through. So it is with utmost respect for Fine Art and our Fine Art Traditions when I say that if my paintings are my only legacy, however beautiful or however extravagant the awards, I lived a poorer man. My role as an artist is, as I see it in my own life, not about art at all, but about the journey in life that best provides to me a way to utilize God's gifts in my life, while also showing others in my world some of that wonderful beauty that is also truth, and therefore live a much richer man.

Is it important to set goals as an artist?   It is important to set goals in life. It is important to set "To-Do" lists which honor those goals, and even more important to set "Not-To-Do" lists!

How important is it for an artist to have an individual style and (if so) how is it attained?   Yes, it is certainly important. And, it is attained through theft - sort of. (When we take ideas from only one artist it is theft, when we take ideas from many artists, it is individual style).

What do you look for when selecting a subject?   Design, only design.

What role does one's personality play in the type of work they produce?  Actually, I think you can read a great deal about the artist's personality in their painting. Personality also has a lot to do with selling the work they produce, so we can all improve in how we sell our work and ourselves. I know I certainly can.

How important is all the social media stuff to a contemporary artist?  Probably more important than I understand it to be, but it clearly moves too fast over too many access points - like Facebook, Twitter, Feedburner, et al - and these access points are constantly being replaced by newer, cooler ones. The question may not be how important it is to the contemporary artist, but how important it is to the contemporary buyer of fine art, (and if it is important to our clients and patrons, what is the best, cleanest way for them or their gallery to find us)?

What's been the most exciting development in your art career during the past year?  Having a gallery call me out of the blue, having seen my work, and offering to carry my work.

If you could hang out with three artists for a day, past or present, whom would they be?  1) John Singer Sargent (if it was a day he was painting)  2) Edgar Payne  3) William Wendt

If you were stranded on an island, what three books would you want with you?           1) The Bible  2) The Army Survival Guide  3) A Shepherd Looks at the Twenty-Third Psalm

Tell us about the Missouri Valley Impressionist Society (MVIS).  In April of 2011, I posted a notice on Facebook declaring this crazy idea I had come up with to start a plein-air painting group in the Kansas City metro area. All of us who painted would go out to paint only to learn that, had five or ten other people heard about it, they would have joined us. So I posted this and fielded responses over the next several weeks. I found three avid Facebook artists in the area, invited them to join me in this crazy idea, and I couldn't have done it without them. We went live January 1, 2012. By the end of the year we may be nearing 80 members, (which is pretty good), we've had three shows, one a juried exhibition that met rave reviews, lots and lots of paint outs, a workshop by Denise LaRue Mahlke, and spread the MVIS into Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, with a few members in other states.
All we wanted to do is organize paint outs. What we found is that we arrived at an agreeable time in the Kansas City art scene, and have been welcomed by the community of all artists. As we've grown, many other smaller art groups and painting clubs connect with us, small groups that might do one or two paint outs each year, and so we try to find them and partner with these small groups so we always have paint outs on our schedule all around the area.
Also, we wanted to get away from a medium-only club format (pastel, oil, etc) and allow anyone working in any medium who work more representationally to join us. Our membership is $35 and we invite anyone interested to join and then start an MVIS chapter in their community as well.
Whiskey River Rapids - 14"x 18" - Oil

You are a thoughtful, creative writer and are now writing and producing a series of short teaching videos, what is the purpose and motivation behind all these efforts?  One thing I do every year, around July, is take an exhaustive personality inventory. Every time I do this, my #1, #2, #3, and #4 'gifts' are Teaching, Speaking, Writing, and Artistic/Creative. Depending on the test or the year, these four, whatever order they come, are always present. So I am motivated because I love creating projects that employ these natural gifts in order to help others in some way. These videos, free tutorials, came from this desire.

Organization of some compositional research into simplified, clearly stated visuals.

What are your future plans for the video series? Any other projects?  In fact, I have a very specific plan for these videos laid out in some detail: I will continue to produce free tutorials - learning how to refine the process with each one - and will continue providing these throughout the year. I believe they are quite helpful to many artists, or can be, and they are certainly helpful to me. My plans include a new website that is more accessible than either my own FASO website or YouTube for video content. If I can achieve 40 to 50 of these per year that would be ideal; the new website will begin to categorize these videos into themes, cross-referencing them as well. I had not anticipated getting this much into video, but I have discovered (for my way of thinking) my exhaustive research over the years has provided a library of books, files, thoughts, interviews, meticulous investigations, and the occasional rare or obscure reference. The videos, if done well, begin to link this library of fine art thought into accessible learning modules.

Thanks, Jeff, for a great interview. Your dedication to learning and your willingness to share freely what you have learned with others will be a significant inspiration to many who hope to one day become professional artists. I expect before long your name will be found among some of the most respected painters. 

Jeffrey Sparks blog

Missouri Valley Impressionist Society

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An Art Renewal Center Associate Living Master
To view bio and work, click HERE


Sunday, January 20, 2013

Art that embraces humanity

Hill Country Solitude - 5.75"x 12" - Oil - 2007

If you've been following this blog, you know we just completed a three-part interview series with Michael John Angel, Juliette Aristides, and David Hardy, all master painters. In that series they discussed Classic Realism...its roots, resurgence and importance.
I've been spending some time on this Realism topic because of its importance. You might want to also read Does Realism Matter? and Realism in the Visual Arts.

Joys of a Country Drive - 9"x 12" - Oil - 2003

Realism as a style or movement is important in painting, sculpture, and literature for example, because it embraces humanity. Less representational styles tend to push people away because the work relates less to real life and is therefore often beyond understanding. Realism speaks, in an understandable way, to the hopes, dreams, and experiences (good and bad) of our humanity. The word "understandable" keeps coming up when we speak of realism.

Morning Has Broken - 16"x 20" - Oil - 2006

Daniel Graves, founder of the Florence Academy of Art in Italy, writes: "For an artist who wants to work in the humanist tradition, to learn the classical techniques of drawing, painting and sculpting is to learn the 'language' one needs to know in order to 'speak' in a way that will be understood." He believes learning this 'language/vocabulary' is necessary for artists in order for them to create works that can be understood by people of all levels of society.

Hush in the Air - 7.5"x 16" - Oil - 2007

October Light - 10"x 10" - Oil - 2006

Beginnings - 8"x 13" - Oil - 2005

Frank Reilly in an article, "What is Art" also stresses the importance of creating work that can be fact, he makes "understandable" a necessary ingredient of all "art".
"Art must contain a human experience and through the personality of an artist, skillfully communicate this experience in an understandable language to the greatest number of thinking people for the longest length of time."  

"Art is man's responsibility to man. Since it is the recording of human experiences, man must than first experience before he can share with others. Its subject matter comes from man's observation and imagination. Its moods and feeling come from man's emotions. It is creative. It inspires and exalts. It preserves nature and Godly creations. Art is for the many, not the few. Art is the unity of both inner and visual beauty."

I have taken the liberty to show some of my older works because of a request from some of my readers.

Upcoming Workshops

22-24 March  -  Carthage, MO  -
26-28 April  -  Pontotoc, MS  -
3-5 May  -  Atlanta, GA  -

Click HERE and scroll down for details on each workshop

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An Art Renewal Center Associate Living Master. Work and bio may be viewed HERE


Sunday, January 13, 2013

Classical (Classic) Realism - Part 3

A three-part series that highlights the origins and resurgence of Classic Realism and its importance to the 21st century artist.

In concluding this three-part interview series on Classic Realism, I want to thank our three participants: John Angel, Juliette Aristides, and David Hardy. Their insight and knowledge of the subject...and their ability to express themselves so clearly concerning this important movement...has been a valuable contribution to what's going on in the contemporary art world. They will continue to be strongly influential in training the next generation of fine artists.

In this final part of the interview, our interviewees consider the importance of having a knowledge of art history and of the arts, how to encourage creativity, and why art students should attend their schools.

Juliette Aristides - Yael - 25"x 20" - Charcoal on toned paper 

Juliette Aristides - Mother and Child - 48"x 36" - Oil 

Why is it important for an artist to have a knowledge of art history?

Angel: Edmond Burke, the English 18th-century philosopher, wrote that those who don't know history are destined to repeat it ('s mistakes). Why waste one's time re-living the failures that led to the understanding of compositional and technical principles? The paintings of the past are inspirational and instructive, and paintings are painters talking to each other over the centuries.

Aristides: It helps to have a context for human achievement. Being an artist is a very difficult calling (for all but a few). It is a source of real encouragement to see the artists of the past, not as gods, but as real people like ourselves with hardships and struggles. A knowledge of art history can brush away the dust of the past and help us see ourselves in a bigger picture.

Hardy: Art history gives us clues, as artists, of who we are, what we are, why we are, and how we got that way.

Michael John Angel - il Poeta - 20"x 15" - Oil

Michael John Angel - Richard Carson - 47.25"x 31.5" - Oil 

How can parents best aid and encourage the development of their child's imagination and creativity?

Angel: Send them to a good school.

Aristides: Limit media, provide plenty of opportunities to be outside experiencing nature, and provide exposure to the arts. This is harder then it seems, parents are under a lot of stress - it is difficult to role model a life of imagination when so few of us have the time, resources and support to do so ourselves.

Hardy: By encouraging children, when possible and appropriate, to make decisions. Also by accepting, respectfully, childish outreach into the unknown by means of fantasy.

David Hardy - An Orange with an Attitude - 12"x 9" - Oil 

David Hardy - Portrait of Sarah - 15"x 10" - Oil 

Can creativity be taught, if so, how?

Angel: Creativity cannot be taught, but it can be nurtured. All human beings are more or less creative. What modern artists need is technical instruction, philosophy and art history.

Aristides: I don't think it can be taught as much as encouraged and fostered. The environment needs to be stimulating while providing space and time.

Hardy: By helping the individual to accept themselves and dare to make decisions.

Why are the fine arts (painting/sculpture) important?

Angel: Life without the arts - drawing, painting, theater, novels, films, dance - would be bleak indeed.

Aristides: It has many functions and is important for a multitude of reasons. The fine arts provide us a glimmer of an alternate truth - that there is more to a human life than progress or acquisition. We have an innate love of beauty, learning, challenge. and encouragement which can be provided through art. Fine art provides us with a different vision and something greater, something noble to strive towards that can last through the passage of time. It holds up a mirror to our society and is the expression of our culture and becomes a legacy for future generations.

Hardy: Because the fine arts are a part of the total human range of responsiveness with which we as humans are endowed. Not only are painting and sculpture important, but also music, dance, drama and literature are part of the gift with which we are endowed. Much like the fact that muscles grow and function more fully for us in proportion to being used, so our involvement with the fine arts becomes more enriched and rewarding when we open up to it.

Juliette Aristides - Talia - 24"x 18" - Charcoal and sepia on toned paper 

Michael John Angel - Melissa - 31.5"x 23.68" - Oil 

David Hardy - The Ginger Jar - 12"x 12" - Oil

Are art and beauty synonymous?

Angel: No

Aristides: I think we would be hard pressed to say that.

Hardy: I think this depends upon how we perceive art and how we perceive beauty. "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder". Artists of the Ashcan School responded to the beauty of simple, everyday things and happenings. But that does not forbid me my love of the miraculous beauty of a rose.

How do you encourage and help your students find their own creative path?

Angel: We make them aware of the myriad paths within the discipline of Representationalism. We do this by teaching them technique, the play between Conceptualism and Empiricism, the dialectic between the real and the abstract and a study of art history. We also encourage the students to copy paintings (contemporary, as well as pre-21st-century ones) and explore (absorb?) these various voices.

Aristides: We have a fourth year in our Atelier - a thesis year, where students work with mentors (high achieving professionals in the field) as role models. Students put together an artist's statement, formulate a plan for a body of work based solely on their artistic vision and have an academic year to create it. The work is then placed on exhibition. We then arrange for the graduates to have their first professional show within a year after leaving the program.

Hardy: Belief in and acceptance of one's self is crucial, in my opinion, as a bedrock for creativity. Combine this with the daring to make decisions - to be able to choose the superior between two whatevers that are almost equal, almost identical, is also important. Sometimes it is better to replace "why" with "why not?" When planning student projects, I prefer to have students take responsibility and try out their ideas. If a certain set-up is not quite working. I suggest some possible advice, but it is up to the student to reach final decisions. Even if (very rarely) something doesn't work, there is much that can be learned that will enrich future projects. 

Juliette Aristides - The Arrangement - 36"x 26" - Oil 

David Hardy - Tryst Nautical - 14"x 15" - Oil

Michael John Angel - Margaret Graubard, New York - 12"x 8" - Oil 

Why should art students attend your school?

Angel: I honestly think that we are one of the best. As well as thorough training, we have Florence and the rest of Italy to draw on (Rome is an hour and a half away by train, and Venice is three hours away). The atmosphere at Angel's is convivial and friendly, while the quality of instruction is very high - all one has to do is look at the student galleries on our website: In addition, we are one of the very few academies that teaches the business side - professional painting means painting for a living - as well as the creative.

Aristides: Art students should attend some form of rigorous education to become challenged to produce their best work. There are many great schools out there right now. Aristides Atelier is located in Gage Academy: and as such we benefit from a lot of cross fertilization.

Hardy: Because we help and encourage students in how to be effective in their artwork, understand themselves better and prepare for today's professional art world. We train champions. The core of good instruction, in my opinion, should be accessibility and effectiveness (another way of saying dependableness). In line with this way of thinking. I have in many instances invented my own ways of presenting time-proven traditional art technology. The School of Boston did not have a strangle hold on important art procedures and viewpoints. My training came down to me from the Julianne Academy in Paris, plus the Royal Academy in Brussels and the Superior Institute in Antwerp. 

Four must see videos

Michael John Angel - The Academic Process, Part 1

Michael John Angel - The Academic Process, Part 2

Michael John Angel - The Academic Process, Part 3

Juliette Aristides - Classical Drawing Workshop: Preview

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An Art Renewal Center Associate Living Master. 
Work and bio may be viewed HERE


Sunday, January 6, 2013

Classical (Classic) Realism - Part 2

A three-part series that highlights the origins and resurgence of Classic Realism and its importance to the 21st century artist.

"Traditional skills are necessary for developing a foundational base for the artist to work from. It is craftsmanship that opens the door to effective self-expression."  
Juliette Aristides

Juliette Aristides - Back - 29"x 20" - Charcoal heightened with white 

My interest was peaked concerning Classic Realism...(I like that term, by the way, as defined by Michael John Angel in last week's blog)...several years ago when the Classical Realism Journal was first published. From there I discovered the Twilight of Painting by R.H. Ives Gammell, and that opened my eyes considerably to what could be when it comes to the proper training of artists.

In this three-part interview with Michael John Angel, Juliette Aristides, and David Hardy, I am hoping to define Classic Realism, its origins, its resurgence, and its importance to all of us.
Actually, I'm not explaining anything. All this is wonderfully done by these three living masters. If you haven't read Part 1 of this series, I encourage you to do so before continuing. (Part I)

And now, Part 2 of "Classical (Classic) Realism"

I've heard some teachers refer to classical training for the artist as a "resurrection of the humanist spirit in western art". What is meant by that?

Angel: I may be one of the people you are quoting here. Abstract art generally turn away from the world of people and doesn't concern itself with the nature of Humankind, except for how to grab its attention. Representationalism concerns itself very much with the world of people and how people view nature - hence Humanism.

Aristides: I take it to mean that the figure is, once again, returning as a central subject in art. It is not only a shift in content but it represents a big philosophical shift as well.

Hardy: Art is returning to the speaking about the human condition and to the miracle of existence within which we find ourselves. Much of western art for over a century has devoted itself to such things as visual engineering and conceptual involvement.

Michel John Angel - Circe - 43.31"x 31.5" - Oil 

David Hardy - Without Warning - 16"x 24" - Oil

What is your definition of art?

Angel: Art is wide; life is narrow (to paraphrase a Latin aphorism); this also is too big a question. I will say, though, that I believe a painting or sculpture should conjure an emotion in the viewer (it can be a mild one, or strong, lyrical or dramatic) and give the sense of the Eternal behind - the Specific.

Hardy: Art, like love, is more easily described than defined. Both could be expressions of the human soul, the human essence of being. But defining it? I leave that up to the experts.

How would you define beauty?

Angel: I wouldn't even try. Beauty is much too wide a subject.

Aristides: The discussion about "what is beauty" has been going on for millennium. Any attempt to define beauty would be an act of hubris on my part - (however, that never stoped me before - so I will give it a shot:) Beauty in art is a reconciliation of opposing elements into a harmonious unity (between design, content and execution).

Hardy: Like trying to define love, defining beauty in words is beyond my powers. Identifying examples of visual beauty is more in my line.

Michael John Angel - Pippo - 12"x 10" - Oil

Juliette Aristides - Drawing of Jeremy - 26"x 22" - Oil 

David Hardy - Fallen Rose with Reflection - 6"x 8" - Oil

What distinguishes classical training from other types of art instruction?

Angel: One has to learn specific skills in order to draw and paint realistically (there's that word again!). These skills - how to make an even tone, how to measure, how to mix paints, how to create colour harmonies, how to model the illusion of form - can be taught, and are taught in the modern ateliers and academies. The state-run schools believe, rather naively, that art requires only passion and that the teaching of skill inhibits creativity. It is also true that many instructors in the state schools haven't been taught well themselves and have no idea how to draw. There is a great (true) story of a life-drawing instructor in the Art Institute (I think) in Chicago, some years ago. It was nearly Christmas and most of his class had left for the holidays; he decided to draw along with the remainder of his students. After half an hour, he had made an awful mess and said, "This is harder than I thought!". The life-drawing instructor in a prestigious university had never drawn the figure before.

Aristides: An Atelier is a studio run by a working artist (not an educator). An atelier provides a time-tested, progression of curriculum over period years - so that students reach a high level of technical proficiency. Drawing is taught first, then painting. Students often spend half days with the life model and the other half in their studio. In short it is a skill based traditional form of art education which places its emphasis on the student emerging as a fully trained artist able to open a studio of their own.

Hardy: Classical training involves the sharing of understanding and building of skills that constitute a visual language about reality. This is normally done in small classes with individual guidance. Advanced students in my Atelier when interested, are taught traditional procedures using layered glazing.

David Hardy - Portrait of Young Woman - 12"x 12" - Oil

Michael John Angel - Galatea - 32"x 16" - Oil 

Juliette Aristides - Early Evening - 30"x 24" - Oil 

Why are we seeing such an interest in classical training for the artist at this time in our history?

Angel: People have always wanted to learn how to make representational drawings and paintings,and they always will. Fashion within the Art Establishment is starting to swing more and more towards Representationalism, and the new "Realists" are getting to be more visible; people are astonished and delighted to learn that this teaching is available to them. I cannot tell you how many letters and e-mails I receive, telling me that the sender thought that representational painting was "forbidden" today!! We are the avant-garde, and we are starting to have a voice - 45 years ago, when I was studying under Annigoni, there was only him, Gammell, signorina Simi and the Russian academies in Moscow and Saint Petersburg (there may have been one in China); now there are hundreds (thousands?) of good schools.

Aristides: We are living in an important time and need every tool available to fully express ourselves. One way that has been historically achieved is by looking back at our cultural legacy and building on it.

Hardy: Because we are maturing beyond rampant rejection of establishment ideas inherited from five hundred years of evolvement and refinement. We are recognizing the stupidity of believing "if it is new it must be better."

Juliette Aristides - The Spanish Pitcher - 36"x 24" - Oil 

Michael John Angel - Red Mermaid - 59.06"x 29.53" - Oil 

David Hardy - Lemons and Lace - 20"x 16" - Oil

Daniel Graves, founder of The Florence Academy of Art, also a living master and leader in the training of artists, talks about many of these same topics in a paper he wrote titled Tradition in the 21st Century.
He explains the difficulty of recapturing the "tradition" of past centuries. "Why can't we produce Leonardos today? I do not believe it is just because we lack technical knowledge and expertise. I believe it is because there is something in addition to the technique that is also part of the tradition...the essence of the tradition. Given that we do not want to just repeat the work of past centuries, I think one of the great challenges we all face is that of discovering what we are going to paint and sculpt. The narratives that artists tapped into for centuries, the timeless stories from mythology and the Bible, seem less meaningful to people than they once did. To merely record the surface appearance of "reality" has never been the province of painting, whose language is far deeper. From the beginning, artists have painted, sculpted and drawn things that had meaning for them, and the images they have left behind are a living testament, a record of their consciousness on earth."

Next week, Part 3, and the conclusion of "Classical (Classic) Realism"

For more on these important artists:

Other valuable related articles:

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